BIDS Helper

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BIDS Helper
BIDS Helper Logo.png
Developer(s) Darren Gosbell, Greg Galloway, John Welch, Darren Green, Scott Currie [1]
Initial release May 27, 2007; 10 years ago (2007-05-27) [2]
Stable release
1.7.0 / March 17, 2015 (2015-03-17) [2]
Written in C#
Operating system Microsoft Windows
Available in English
Type Integrated Development Environment
License Shared Source Permissive License (SS-PL)

BIDS Helper is a Visual Studio open source extension with multiple features that extend and enhance business intelligence development functionality in all editions of Microsoft's SQL Server 2005, 2008, 2008 R2 and 2012.[3][4] BIDS Helper improves the development environment for integration, analysis and reporting services.[5] BIDS Helper is hosted on Microsoft's open source project hosting website CodePlex.[6]


BIDS Helper was initially released on May 27, 2007.[2] Its most recent version, BIDS Helper 1.7.0 was released on March 17, 2015.[2]

In Version 1.5, released on June 7, 2011, Varigence contributed key portions of the Biml engine, including dynamic package generation to BIDS Helper.[7][8] Business Intelligence Markup Language (Biml) is an XML-based language that allows you to describe your BI solution in a declarative fashion, similarly to using HTML to describe how a web page should appear.[9] Version 1.5 also had the Expression Editor contributed by Konesans.


BIDS Helper has dozens of features that improve the functionality of BIDS, SSIS and SSAS. They are classified into one of five categories listed below based on where they increase functionality in SQL Server:[10]

Analysis Services Multidimensional[edit]

Aggregation Manager - an advanced interface for manually editing aggregations
Calculation Helpers - enhances the Calculations tab of the cube editor
Column Usage Reports - lets you open two reports about column usage: Unused Columns Report + Used Columns Report
Delete Unused Aggregations - automates the process of detecting which aggregations are unused and deleting them
Deploy Aggregation Designs - deploys just the aggregation designs in a cube. It does not change which aggregation design is assigned to each partition
Deploy MDX Script - allows you to right click on a cube in an Analysis Services solution and deploy just the calculation script
Dimension Data Type Discrepancy Check - allows you to check that DSV data types match the data types on the KeyColumns and NameColumn of dimension attributes. It displays any discrepancies and lets you fix them with the click of a button.
Dimension Health Check - allows you to check various indications of dimension health
Dimension Optimization Report - This report lists all dimension attributes and hierarchies on rows. On columns, it lists various properties which can be used to optimize dimensions.
Duplicate Role - allows you to copy a role with all of the associated settings and permissions
Many-to-Many Matrix Compression - Analyzing the data in a m2m relationship to determine whether it can be compressed significantly requires building a complex SQL query. This feature automates this process and returns a report showing how much each m2m relationship can be compressed.
Measure Group Health Check - allows you to check various indications of measure group health.
Non-Default Properties Report - will let you see on one screen all properties which have been changed from their defaults.
Parent-Child Dimension Naturalizer - aids in converting parent-child dimensions into natural hierarchies.
Printer Friendly Aggregations - allows you print or export to PDF a report that lists every aggregation in a cube.
Printer Friendly Dimension Usage - allows you to view and print a report encompassing all the information from the Dimension Usage tab.
Roles Report - recursively list the members of the role and the members of groups so that you can easily determine which members actually have access via each role
Similar Aggregations - allows you to view a report that lists any aggregations which are very similar to each other.
Smart Diff - lets you compare versions of a SSAS, SSIS, and SSRS files. BIDS Helper preprocesses XML files so that the diff versus source control is more meaningful.
Show Extra Properties - exposes hidden properties on several Analysis Services objects. It also provides a better UI for editing descriptions on Analysis Services objects.
Sync Descriptions - if you have spent considerable time entering descriptions for relational tables and columns (for example, using the Kimball Dimensional Modeling Spreadsheet)it can help you import those descriptions to the dimension in Analysis Services.
Test Aggregation Performance - test the performance of your aggregations
Tri-State Perspectives - this feature operates in the Perspectives tab of the cube designer. It highlights any measure groups or dimensions in which not all visible children are part of the perspective
Update Estimated Counts - allows you to update the EstimatedCount property of every dimension attribute and every partition with exact counts
Validate Aggregations - allows you to quickly check whether any aggregations violate restrictions or best practices
Visualize Attribute Lattice - allows you to visually see the attribute relationships you have defined for a dimension in an Analysis Services solution

Analysis Services Tabular[edit]

Smart Diff - lets you compare versions of a SSAS, SSIS, and SSRS files. BIDS Helper preprocesses XML files so that the diff versus source control is more meaningful.
Tabular Actions Editor - provides a UI for editing actions for Tabular models. For example, this feature allows the model designer the ability to customize the columns returned by drillthrough.
Tabular Display Folders - provides a UI for editing display folders on measures, columns, and hierarchies. All display folders are edited in the same place.
Tabular HideMemberIf - allows HideMemberIf setting to be changed
Tabular Pre-Build - catches the build event and checks features for BIDS Helper settings that have been lost. Because these settings were backed up in annotations, they can be restored, and the user will be prompted if this is necessary.
Tabular Sync Descriptions - if you have spent considerable time entering descriptions for relational tables and columns (for example, using the Kimball Dimensional Modeling Spreadsheet)it can help you import those descriptions to the table in your Tabular model in Analysis Services.
Tabular Translations Editor - allows you to code in one language but display your model to users in another language. For example, you could code in English but display to users in Spanish.

Integration Services[edit]

Batch Property Update - Allows you to update multiple packages properties at once
Biml Package Generator - provides the ability to create packages from Business Intelligence Markup Language (Biml)
Create Fixed Width Columns - allows you to use your Excel spreadsheet to create the column definitions in a few simple steps.
Deploy SSIS Packages - lets you quickly deploy SSIS packages directly from BIDS without having to create a deployment manifest and use the Package Installation Wizard.
Design Warnings - provides similar functionality to the Design Warning feature in Analysis Services 2008. It compares the current package against a list of design guidelines, and adds warnings to the Error List in Visual Studio for any items that need to be investigated.
dtsConfig File Formatter - watches for when a window is activated or created for a file with a .dtsConfig extension and automatically initiates the Visual Studio formatting feature
Expression and Configuration Highlighter - gives a visual indicator so that the influence of expressions and package configurations can be seen at a glance
Expression List - provides a window that lists all the expressions defined in a package
Fix Relative Paths - helpful in setting up packages to use relative paths in connection managers and in the path to dtsConfig files
Non-Default Properties Report - will let you see on one screen all properties which have been changed from their defaults
Pipeline Component Performance Breakdown - automates the methodology for determining which piece of a data flow task is the bottleneck and lets you trend component performance as you try different settings and design alternative
Reset GUIDs - resets the IDs for all tasks, connection managers, configurations, event handlers, variables, and the package ID itself
Smart Diff - lets you compare versions of a SSAS, SSIS and SSRS files
Sort Project Files - adds a "Sort by name" menu option to the "SSIS Packages" folder of an SSIS project in Visual Studio
Sortable Package Properties Report - This report shows you the following properties for every SSIS package in the project or solution: Package, Name, ID, Description, Creator Name, Creation Date, Creator Computer Name, Version Build, Version GUID, Version Major, Version Minor
SSIS Performance Visualization - shows you a graphical gantt chart view of the execution durations and dependencies for your package to help you visualize performance
Variables Window Extensions - is designed to extend the Variables window in the SSIS package designer

Reporting Services[edit]

Dataset Usage Reports - lets you view a list of used and unused Reporting Services datasets
Delete Dataset Cache Files - automates the deletion of the files
Smart Diff - lets you compare versions of a SSAS, SSIS, and SSRS files


Enable/Disable features - allows for the enable and disable individual features
Preferences - allows for the configuration of features via a Preferences screen
Version Notification - helps you stay current by alerting you when a new BIDS Helper version is released


  1. ^ "BIDS Helper - People". Code Name. Retrieved November 21, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d "BIDS Helper 1.6.5". Codeplex. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  3. ^ Tok, Wee-Hyong; Parida, Rakesh; Masson, Matt; Ding, Xiaoning; Sivashanmugam, Kaarthik (2012). Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Integration Services. O'Reilly Media, Inc. p. 511. ISBN 978-0735665859. 
  4. ^ Ferrari, Alberto; Webb, Chris; Russo, Marco (2009). "Chapter 2: Building Basic Dimensions and Cubes". Expert Cube Development with Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services. Packt Publishing. p. 40. ISBN 978-1-847197-22-1. 
  5. ^ Beresford, James (December 18, 2009). "BIDS Helper". BI Monkey - James Beresford on Microsoft BI and Consulting in Sydney, Australia. Retrieved November 5, 2012. 
  6. ^ Rad, Reza; Perfeito, Pedro (2012). "Chapter 15: Performance Boost in SSIS". Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Integration Services: An Expert Cookbook. Packt Publishing. p. 564. ISBN 978-1-84968-524-5. 
  7. ^ "BIDS Helper 1.5". Codeplex. Retrieved November 21, 2012. 
  8. ^ Leonard, Andy; Masson, Matt; Mitchell, Tim; Moss, Jessica; Ufford, Michelle (2012). SQL Server 2012 Integration Services Design Patterns. APress. p. 302. ISBN 978-1430237716. 
  9. ^ Welch, John (June 7, 2011). "Biml Package Generator". BIDS Helper. Retrieved September 30, 2011. 
  10. ^ "BIDS Helper - Documentation". Codeplex. Retrieved November 21, 2012. 

External links[edit]